Another Great Tool for Landscapes


macrumors 601
Original poster
Feb 24, 2008
Over there------->
This Google Earth feature may be old hat to some of you, but I only just discovered it a few days ago. I habitually use TPE (The Photographer's Ephemeris) to plan out trips to new locations for landscape photos, but it provides only lines and numbers instead of 3D visual information about sunlight. So I was pretty excited when I discovered that Google Earth has a 3D lighting option. You can use a slider to select the time of day, and GE will position the sun and cast shadows accordingly. It makes a great complement to TPE!

A screen cap:

I've tested it out once so far, and it was quite accurate. Gotta love it. :)
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macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2009
I use the "sun feature" of Google Earth as well as TPE, and have found both to be useful. To enable the sun feature, load Google Earth, go to the area you are interested in photographing and then select "Sun" under the View menu. Then adjust the slider to the date and time you are interested in photographing. If the slider doesn't have the timescale you are interested in, you can click the zoom in/out buttons to adjust how wide of a timescale the slider uses.

The only drawback I've found with using this is that it assumes there are no clouds, so the actual lighting can end up being significantly different. This is especially the case during sunrise or sunset when there are clouds around the sun at the horizon. It's good to have that element of chance though, otherwise it would be too easy and predictable. :)
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